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Through today's 'Spine' comes a link to Jacqui Smith's insistence that we must all be watched continuously for our own safety.

I don't recall any of this going on when the IRA were in town. You could argue that they didn't have Internet then, but they did have phones. I'm sure suspects' phones were tapped, that's expected, but there was no call to tap and record every single phone connection in the country, just in case.

The most irritating thing the IRA managed to cause was the removal of all litter bins, after they put a bomb in one. They did not manage to cause the implementation of sweeping powers of arrest, calls for 42 days detention and secret inquests, council powers that would have made Stalin raise his eyebrows, nor did they cause us to have tweezers confiscated at airports in case we threatened to pluck the pilot's eyebrows. In fact, the IRA caused very little inconvenience to the general public, even though they were a far more organised terrorist group, and did far more damage, than the current so-called 'threat'. We did not have to live in chains as a result of their actions.

The removal of freedoms is, we are told, what the terrorists intend for us. They intend us to live under the iron rule of a fascist dicatatorship. As old 'Bouncy' would put it, 'so what?'

How much worse could it get? If the country was taken over by Islam, they'd ban smoking and drinking. Our government is fast heading that way anyway. They'd dictate what we can and cannot eat. Our government is trying that now. They'd dictate what we can and cannot say. Our government is doing that too. They'd watch us all the time to make sure we complied with all the rules. Our government does that and wants to do more of it. There would be the official police and the 'unofficial police' who have powers to arrest us for non-compliant behaviour. Sorry, Islam, our guys have that covered too.

There really isn't much left for the terrorists to do, is there? They've achieved most of their aims already. Even the characteristic belligerent behaviour towards neighbouring countries - our government have it covered.

As for controlling the population, well:

Ministers were already planning a massive "Big Brother" database to log data contained in emails and phone calls but have decided to go even further in view of the current threat level.

... Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, announced that she was delaying the Bill in order to expand the extent of surveillance powers open to the security services, while consulting further on the best way to win public support for the plan.

She wants more power. More. Subjugate those serfs. Dammit, there are some still not thinking the right thoughts.  Note that she intends to 'consult on the best way to win public support'. She has no intention of consulting you or me. She has no interest in what we think. She intends to find out the best way to just tell us what to think.

She added: "There are no plans for an enormous database which will contain the content of your emails, the texts that you send or the chats you have on the phone or online.

Do you believe that? You do? Sucker.

"Nor are we going to give local authorities the power to trawl through the database in the interests of investigating lower level criminality under the spurious cover of counter-terrorist legislation."

Of course not. Just as they didn't let the local authorities spy on people, tap their phones, send out investigators, or give them 400 new ways to enter your home, whether you're in it or not. They wouldn't ever make statements like 'local authorities aren't using the powers enough'. No, no, no. How could anyone think otherwise?

Three weeks after she gets these powers, there will be court cases where someone is convicted of illegal parking because they mentioned it in an Email to a friend, or convicted of fly-tipping because they phoned a friend to tell them about a good spot. The councils will abuse these powers, just as they've abused all the others. There will be no checks or controls. Nobody will be accountable.

No terrorists will be found, either. Just as none have been found by checking bins and arresting photographers. If you have every single email on file, including all those spam Emails that take up so much of the bandwidth these days, how can you expect to find a terrorist in that lot? You'd have better luck searching for them with Google Earth.

The councils won't be looking for terrorists. They'll be looking in local mail and phone shots to see if they can find someone to fine. That's what councils do these days. They fine people for trivia so they can invest the money and lose it. There was a time when councils performed a useful function or two, but those are largely overshadowed now by their schemes and secret machinations. They do like their little secrets. It's more fun to spend millions if those who provide the money don't know about it. Best of all, the councils can act like mini-Soviet-states, taking the money from their catchment population and using it to make those same people suffer at every opportunity.

They must be rubbing their chubby fingers together with glee at these new proposals. They'll do just what the hell they like, and none of them will ever be castigated, fired, disciplined or even named. They are untouchable and they know it.

They are not, however, indestructible. We still have some say, for the moment, at council elections and councillors would do well to remember that.

They would also do well to remember how many people they are infuriating every day. The number is growing faster than your administration, councillors, and they will not grumble quietly to themselves forever. They will grumble to their neighbours, to the few who still visit the pubs, in the queues for under-the-counter tobacco, in the special alcohol queue for filthy boozers, while they stand outside smoking and Righteous-indoctrinated crones fake coughs as they pass, while they meet in each others' houses to play the banned drinking games, while they labour over homebrew. Word will spread.

The thing is, councillors, it won't be spreading by Email or phone. It'll be spreading by direct contact between neighbours.

How will you monitor that, I wonder?

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
15th Oct, 2008 21:40 (UTC)
The thing is, councillors, it won't be spreading by Email or phone. It'll be spreading by direct contact between neighbours.

How will you monitor that, I wonder?

CCTV and snooping kids?
15th Oct, 2008 22:03 (UTC)
How will you monitor that, I wonder?

By running a Stasi style informant system, neighbour on neighbour, child on parent, employee on employer and colleague on colleague.

Difference being that they'll lose the fucking lot by leaving it in the club lounge on the P&O Kent when they pop to France on a 'fact-finding mission' that is really a buy fags and booze legally mission.
16th Oct, 2008 01:21 (UTC)
Children can't be trusted - not because they're all Balls Youth (other than the ones with bowler hats and one false eyelash) but because kids can't keep quiet if they know something that sounds like it might be a bit naughty. So, kids have to be avoided.

As for the neighbours, well, it's easy enough to predict who's going to be the informers, at least in my street.

A side effect of the drive to make sure nobody trusts anyone is that it becomes very clear, very quickly, who are the few you can trust. Thanks to the Righteous and their arrogant certainty in their own invulnerability, we can easily tell who they are and we can tell who's not one of them too. We can root out an infiltrator with a word.

The enemy is big, but not too bright. Except for the generals. They're the ones to watch out for.
16th Oct, 2008 07:30 (UTC)
we can easily tell who they are
Another excellent piece, Leg-Iron. Spot-on as usual. If I remember rightly, they were going to issue the "domestic plods" with little badges. Perhaps they've dropped this idea, after all they wouldn't be very popular with their friends/neighbours.
16th Oct, 2008 12:29 (UTC)
Though you've considered the role of councillors in this, you have neglected the main body of the council executive and staff that actually does the work.

These people are effectively untouchable, and though you may remove the some of the heads of the hydra, the body remains.
21st Oct, 2008 15:54 (UTC)
Spying on the IRA
Actually, the British Government did have a means of spying on the IRA's phonecalls, the Capenhurst tower: http://www.lamont.me.uk/capenhurst/

True to form, this was a completely unauthorised tower stuck in the beam between two of a chain of towers taking phonecalls from England to Eire; the authorities did not have permission to tap the beam, and never asked for it (but did it anyway).
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )